The United States plays a critical role in maintaining global peace and stability. This includes acknowledging and aiding nations moving toward democracy and open society, and increasing pressure on those who continue to support tyranny, oppression, terrorism, and instability.
To have a strong and vibrant national defense, we must support investment in research and development and new technologies that will fully prepare our military and special-ops to defend our interests.
Here at home, we must equip our public safety personnel with the tools and training to respond to disasters and threats to our homeland; this also involves ensuring the safety of the traveling public and screening cargo at our ports, airports and railways to avert an attack on US citizens.
With the death of Osama bin Laden and many top Al-Qaeda leaders, the United States is safer today than even a year ago. However, terrorism is still a top concern and I am committed to focusing our security priorities toward the continued hunt for Al-Qaeda leaders and the dismantling of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks. This includes continued funding for the training and equipment of our special-ops forces that are successfully defeating Al-Qaeda and providing the US a strong national defense. We must also foster better coordination among intelligence agencies to remain vigilant and strong against terrorist threats.
In coordination with our NATO allies, I support a speedier withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. The US has been successful in fighting the insurgents and training Afghan security forces for long-term security in what was once the heart of Al-Qaeda. Our military leaders have a sensible plan to slowly turn over portions of the country to the Afghan security forces where violence has been reduced. The end is in sight and we must ensure we have a systematic withdrawal that ensures long-term security from terrorism in Afghanistan.
Iran and Other Nuclear Threats
The danger posed by Iran to the Mid-east region seems to escalate daily. My top priority on the issue of Iran is to ensure that the U.S. does whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from having the capability to produce a nuclear weapon. Unfortunately, today, Iran has already developed infrastructure that has only one purpose: to create nuclear weapons. We can’t let them get one step closer to their stated goal. I support strong sanctions against Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran until they can prove they are not developing nuclear weapons. We must also diligently identify and sanction any domestic or foreign company that assists Iran, in any way, in its effort to obtain and/or develop nuclear weapons. We must more directly address countries that support Iran yet look the other way when it comes to Iran’s flagrant violations of mandatory U.N. Security Council resolutions. Finally, I will work to continue to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. Israel is our strongest ally in the region and we have mutual economic and national security interests in being unified in our efforts to stabilize the Middle East.
The valiant sacrifices made by our veterans, and their families, on behalf of our county need to be remembered and rewarded; they have made great sacrifices so we can enjoy the freedoms we take for granted. There are many proposals in Congress to reduce their benefits or to require veterans to pay more for the benefits we have promised them for their service to our Country. I do not support reducing benefits that have already been promised to current veterans and active duty military.
I convened a roundtable discussion with area veterans to learn how we can best support them upon their end of military service. Men and women who served from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan, for every branch of our military attended the discussion. Their issues varied greatly by generation. World War II, Korea and Vietnam Vets are most concerned about the cost and quality of health care and making sure that the VA Hospital services are local and provide quality care. I pledged to continue fighting to keep the Livermore VA Hospital open in some fashion, to serve local Vets, whether it is through its brain trauma center or post-traumatic stress disorder center. Both are specialty-care services that we cannot lose.
Veterans from the Gulf War and Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned about their ability to hold meaningful jobs. We must help veterans find job opportunities once they complete their service and I support new tax credits to encourage businesses to hire unemployed and disabled veterans.
Strong Schools = Strong National Security
Improving America’s schools will strengthen national security and our economic prosperity. Our continued strength in national defense will depend on students prepared to step in as soldiers, intelligence analysts and defense and aerospace workers.
The US will need graduates fluent in foreign languages and skills in science to research and develop the technology for future defense needs. Graduates will also need to be skilled in the manufacturing of these high-tech components. Finally, we need to improve high school graduation rates and the physical fitness of our students. We need educated troops who have the aptitude and fitness to serve US interests.
About the issues:
America needs an economic comeback. I’m ready to lead our comeback and will work from a core set of principles to achieve this. Today’s issues can no longer be placed in silos or separated from one another. In this global economy and digital world, our issues are inter-connected, inter-related and must be integrated. The issues in this section are all inter-dependent on American competitiveness and our ability to create good-paying jobs that strengthen our economy.